The University of Aberdeen has developed a new app designed to improve tractor safety for farmers.
Created by the Non-Technical Skills in Agriculture research group within the School of Psychology, this is the first app made to specifically improve situation awareness and safety for farmers who work with tractors.
The SA Go app, converts the Tractor Situation Awareness Checklist created by the team in 2019 into a mobile app to improve its usability for farmers. The original checklist has proved hugely successful in the farming community with 1000 copies distributed to farmers in the UK so far.
Incidents around operating heavy machinery is a key risk area within agriculture with 17 farmers and two farming children killed last year. The app is designed to enhance the reliability of checking procedures and support the development of situation awareness, a skill that enables the individual to accurately perceive the world and use that information to anticipate, and avoid, potential problems.
Dr Amy Irwin who leads the group and led production of the app explains: “We already know that checklists are useful in applying safety measures and are widely used in industries such as aviation and healthcare to improve safety and reduce accidents. In this way the checklist has benefits not only for safety but finances as well - recognising and dealing with a minor equipment or maintenance problem early can prevent larger costs in the future.
“We developed and released the original Tractor Situation Awareness Checklist last year and this has already proved popular within the farming community. Building on this success, we wanted to improve the ease with which farmers can access and use it regularly so that it becomes second nature. This is where the idea for the app came from.
“We surveyed more than 150 UK farmers on tractor safety and decision-making before we designed the checklist to make sure that it was relevant to farmers who work with these pieces of machinery every day.
“The app makes safety checks even easier, allowing farmers to download the checklist to their mobile phone or tablet and providing practical advice where issues are identified.
“The checklist app can also be used as a training tool, to encourage communication around safety and as part of a farmers daily routine to enhance safety. The app also collates daily checks into a handy graph, highlighting consistent issues over time. This, we hope will help to inform safety procedures going forward and will make farming a safer industry for everyone.”
The app can be downloaded via this link: https://research.abdn.ac.uk/applied-psych-hf/app/